Sunday, 15 May 2011

Malvern Spring Show Impressions (VFTA No 2)

First things first, my friend C and I had a lovely day out at the show, as usual we really enjoyed each other's company.  The weather was fine, no rain until I was driving back to Shropshire.  During the day it was cloudy with sunny intervals and very breezy, but pleasant enough for us to eat our lunch outdoors and to have a good wander around the show.

So impressions...well, lots of acers, lilies, hostas, acquilegia, grasses in the various nursery stands.  A mixed bag of a show with crafts and specialist foods alongside gardening tools, clothing, plants and show gardens.

Orange Marmalade on the left and Fragrant Bouquet on the right

I love hostas and the show had a number of stalls showing such a range of these plants from minatures to giants.  Needless to say I bagged a couple, Orange Marmalade and Fragrant Bouquet, well who could resist - not me!  C looks like becoming a hosta convert, it's the minature ones that have caught her interest.  I also picked up a envelope of hosta seeds.  According to the packet they seldom come true to the parent plant as, like acquilegias, they are very promiscuious, so it will be interesting to see what results I get.

I couldn't come back to Holly Grove without at least one new addition to the flower borders.  The chosen plant is Nemesia Vanilla Lady, chosen for its striking perfume and its dainty flowers.  I think it will go into the front of the swingseat walk border, right by the steps so that its perfume can be fully appreciated.

Dainty Lady
Highly perfumed

Lilies were my other purchase.  The displays in the Floral Marquee were amazingly beautiful and these are what tempted both C and I to buy some bulbs.  We came away with three types, all asiatic lilies I believe:

Dimension; the most dramatic of the three.  A very deep burgundy with texture like velvet.

Patricia's Pride; picking up the burgundy theme in the centre of the predominently white flower.

White Heaven - what can I say, irresistible!!!

White Heaven
Talking of show gardens I found these a bit disappointing; they were very small (not that big is necessarily better) and lacking in imagination and (for me anyway) lacking in inspiration.  The focus of the gardens seemed to be more on the hard landscaping than the plants - a pity as if the planting had been better the gardens would have risen in my estimation. I was really surprised to see that any of them had an RHS Gold Medal - but then this is only my view and I'm no RHS judge!

There were three gardens I found of interest:

A Garden for Life - very attractive garden building surrounded by dense planting and a lovely fountain water feature.  The colours in this garden really appealed to me; mostly blues and purples.

The Atomic Journey - strange theme for a garden but this was beautifully executed.  A very symmetrical garden with a small but effective range of plants - both C and I thought that this would make a lovely front garden.

The Rain Garden
The Rain Garden - my favourite, not for the planting but rather it has provided a couple of ideas for using water in the garden and may provide inspiration for a garden somewhere in Holly Grove - still considering it.  My photo doesn't really do it justice.  You can find descriptions of all the show gardens here.

I should also mention a stand that I have visited at a couple of shows and on-line: Plant Supports.  They stock very robust and attractive plant supports and there is always a bargain to be had on their show stands.  Add to this that it's a family firm and they are so friendly and helpful, it makes it a pleasure to do business with them.  This time I bought some spiral supports and some edging supports; I'm getting quite a collection and they are required on this exposed and often windy site.  My preference is for the rustic version as they fit in so well with the cottage garden planting, though by mid season they are hidden from view by foliage. They also supply green plastic coated supports.

We really had a lovely day out and I would recommend the show to anyone who enjoys their garden - lots to see and do in the lovely setting of the Malvern Hills.  We'll be going back for more in September at the Autumn Show.


Anonymous said...

I would recommend the show, it is getting better every time we go. We are the manufacturer of the Plant Supports (Plant Supports Uk Ltd) We produce everything ourselves in either the Rustic or a powder coated finish and it is great to hear such lovely comments. Thank you.

Susan said...

Thank you for your comment, Tina - see you at the Shrewsbury Flower show in August?